keel wiggle

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Guest, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I have a gladiator 24 with a full, encapsulated lead keel. During a recient launch from a travel lift, the operator rotated the boat to clear the trailer (lifted on side of the boat) and I noticed an incredible amount to lateral movement in the keel in relation to the hull. The hull and keel are a single unit but the keel x-section gets quite narrow just before it joins the hull. This is the point of greatest bending moment. I could grab the bottom of the keel and shake it and this would produce a couple of inches of "wiggle" along with a swishing sound created by the water trapped inside the keel. Could this keel fail, is it fatigued, normal, can I sleep well 60-miles+ plus offshore while heeling 35-degrees?????
     
  2. BVI Jon
    Joined: Sep 2003
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    BVI Jon Junior Member

    Guest,

    Do you know a good Marine Surveyor?

    I'm not familiar enough with the Gladiator to know if a little wiggle at the bottom of the keel is OK or not (did it take alot of effort for you to get it to wiggle?).

    And, if I'm not mistaken, having water where none was intended is probably not the best thing.

    Jon.
     
  3. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    Very bad sign - needs to be investigated immediately. I agree about a good marine surveyor.
     
  4. betelgeuserdude
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    betelgeuserdude Junior Member

    Actually, I have been surprised to see such a condition exhibited by an early Valiant 40'.

    Ask any experienced Travel Lift operator, or better yet, his/her assistant. This is not as rare as many would like to believe.

    On a boat which has a narrow keel "root", or narrow section close to the hull, this is typical, as is the sound of sloshing water within an encapsulated ballast keel (or skeg, or rudder). I'm not saying that it's right, just typical.


    DC
     
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If the ballast is loose in the laminate, there is an easy (sort of) fix. Cut several holes in the botton and the top to drain the water and dry the cavity. Fill the cavity thickened resin.
     
  6. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    It could be the keelbolts just need to be tightened (with the weight of the keel on the ground). It might be a good opportunity to drain moisture and fill cavities with resin (or 3M 5200 or the equiv SikaFlex) as Gonzo suggests.
     
  7. betelgeuserdude
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    betelgeuserdude Junior Member

    Keelbolts in encapsulated ballast?

    It sounds all warm and fuzzy to remove the water and then fill voids with resin, etc..., but in real life practice, this only leaves a warm and fuzzy feeling. The encapsulated ballast is still wet, but now it has some additional mass to displace when it (if it is at all ferrous) swells up like a marshmellow in a microwave.

    Since the ballast in question is claimed to be lead, and perhaps we may assume that the lead is in a single casting, it is best to just drain what fluid has entered the encapsulation, patch the drainage hole(s), and go on. There can be no benefit realized by attempting to fill voids within an encapsulated ballast keel, unless the voids are due to ballast having been initially installed in the form of loose pig or scrap lead.

    Find a reputable, white haired surveyor. Pay for an entire vessel survey, and mention your concerns regarding the "keel wiggle and sloshing". The entire survey may point in the direction of an immediate sale, however, it may also point out more pressing issues, which demand more pressing solutions. Finally, the surveyor might shrug and tell you to go sailing and not worry about it.

    It is nearly always better (and cheaper) to pay for the warm and fuzzy feeling by the surveyor than by the yard.

    DC
     
  8. SailDesign
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    SailDesign Old Phart! Stay upwind..

    I"ll second betelgeuserdude's opinion. Surveyors are far cheaper than the yard bill, especially when they find nothing wrong.
     
  9. Dave Boboc

    Dave Boboc Guest

    Gladiator 24

    I own a Lapworth 24, a trunk cabin version of the Gladiator. I haven't noticed any "wiggle" on my keel, but there may be some that I just haven't noticed. I've heard of Cal 25's (also a Lapworth design) with moving keels.
     
  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Read the start of the thread. It says the keel is lead. This means there won't be any scale rust. Encapsulated ballast doesn't have bolts, it fills the cavity in the keel. The keel is designed to be filled, so it should be solid. If the ballast comes loose, the structure weakens. Filling the voids and adhering the ballast back to the keel should solve the problem.
     

  11. CT249
    Joined: May 2003
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    CT249 Senior Member

    re "The entire survey may point in the direction of an immediate sale."

    Why sell it? If you are going to let the buyer know, the price will drop accordingly.

    If you DON'T let the buyer know, how will you live with yourself if the keel falls off and some poor guy, perhaops a crewman who has nothing to do with the purchase, dies?

    It may not always turn up in a survey. In Australia I think you would be legally liable for the possible death or injury, and your boat insurance will no longer cover you. Morally, you're just as stuffed.
     
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